Progressive gelding Age Of Chivalry
(He’s Remarkable) will look to
continue on his steep upward
trajectory when he takes his chance
in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) at
Caulfield on Saturday.
The four-year-old gelding has won his two
most recent starts this campaign which cotrainer Simon Zahra said did not come as a
surprise and revealed the plan to aim Age Of
Chivalry at the Group 1 feature this weekend
has been a long time in the making.
Age Of Chivalry, who was last seen
defeating South Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2500m)
winner Qafila (Not A Single Doubt) at Caulfield
on August 31, is well-fancied in all-in betting for
Saturday’s $500,000 sprint.
While the gelding closed his account last
season with two narrow defeats in the CS Hayes
(Gr 3, 1400m) and the Seppelt Wines Handicap
(1400m), the form of both of those races has stood
up this season, with The Inevitable (Dundeel) beating
him the Group 3, while subsequent Queensland
Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Mr Quickie (Shamus
Award) finished ahead of him in the Seppelt Wines
We actually earmarked the Rupert Clarke for him during the autumn when we put him out after he just got beaten, but the form stood up,” Zahra told us yesterday. “The two races he raced in [the C S Hayes Stakes and Seppelt Wines Handicap] were won by the horse from Tassie (The Inevitable) and Mr Quickie, so they were seriously hot races and we knew he wasn’t ready mentally at the time. “He was putting his head in the air and doing a lot wrong, so this was always our target and hopefully the Toorak after if he happens to settle. They were always our spring goals for him.” Begood Toya Mother (Myboycharlie), who set a fast tempo before tiring to finish fifth in the Memsie Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) on the same day Age Of Chivalry won the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap (1400m), is the $4.20 favourite for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes with nominations set to be released today. The Inevitable (Dundeel) ($5.50), who is an unlikely starter, and Memsie Stakes runner-up So Si Bon (So You Think) ($7.50) are also in single figures with Age Of Chivalry trading at $9. “He is going there well weighted. He is a 94-rater and so is Begood Toya Mother and it looks like they are going to get a run. It is quite even all the way through and well weighted and there is not a huge gap from the top to the bottom,” Zahra said. “So far, it looks like he has made a good natural step to the next level.” Age Of Chivalry also carries an entry for the inaugural Golden Eagle (1500m), but Zahra says the New Zealand-bred gelding had to convince him that he could run further than 1400 metres before he would commit to a run in the $7.5 million or the Toorak Handicap. “At this stage, we will get through Saturday and then go from there. You have got to leave your options open as much as you can and if he can’t get beyond 1400 metres at the moment, then things are limited,” he said. “I think he’ll get a mile if he can chill out a bit, but Saturday will give us a test whether he is making that natural progression (mentally).” Meanwhile, Age Of Chivalry is set to be joined in the Group 1 this weekend by his VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m)-winning stablemate Aristia (Lonhro), who will be resuming after enjoying an extended winter spell — having not raced since finishing sixth behind Princess Jenni (High Chaparral) in the Australasian Oaks (Gr 1, 2000m) at Morphettville on May 4. Zahra said: “We gave her a really nice break (after her three-year-old season). She had nine weeks out after having a busy 18 months, so she is starting off from a lower base of fitness this time and then we will just work our way through the spring with her. “I don’t think she is a genuine staying mare, but if we can get her around the mile to 2000 metres, that is probably going to be her. It is a good starting point on Saturday and she will improve a lot from the run.”
Zahra also confirmed yesterday that progressive four-year-old Zoutori (Zoustar), who was an impressive first-up winner of Saturday’s Bobbie Lewis Quality (Gr 2, 1200m) at Flemington, would have his next start on his home track in the Gilgai Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) on October 5. “He has been going really well and going from three-year-old to fouryear-old you always have to be conservative (in your expectations),” he said. “But the Bobbie Lewis looked like it dropped away a little bit after the scratchings and he looked like he drew the right part of the track, so a few things went his way, and his fresh form is outstanding.” Zoutori, who has won five of his 14 starts, strung three wins together at the start of his autumn campaign before things went awry in two Group races in Queensland. For now Zahra is non-committal about testing the $160,000 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale graduate over 1400 metres or a mile. “If you look after the line on Saturday he was running away from them,” he said. “We’re just playing around with him at the moment and if he looks like he wants further, then we are happy to step him back up or if he looks like he is going to sprint well fresh we will keep him to that. “We’re still working him out a bit.” Meanwhile, Oakleigh Plate (Gr 1, 1100m) winner Booker (Written Tycoon) remains on target for the AJ Moir Stakes (Gr 1, 1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 27. The five-year-old mare resumed in the McEwen Stakes (Gr 2, 1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 7, finishing eighth but only a length and a quarter behind the winner, Faatinah (Nicconi). Zahra said: “The 1000 metres is probably not suitable but there aren’t a lot of options for her, so she will go to the Moir and probably the Schillaci after that. “She got beaten 1.3 lengths and never got out of second gear (in the McEwen Stakes) and she was in the worst part of the track. “It was well documented that she was quite fat, too, so that has tightened her up nicely and the Moir will tighten her up again.”
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